Even though Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia grew up in the Northside area in Houston, his Latino experience goes deeper than his last name. As a child, his parents took him and his siblings to Mexico City for summer vacations.
His father made his living as an auto mechanic and his mother carried the traditional duties of a housewife as seen often in the Hispanic culture.
As part of a family with challenges in a working class community, A young Adrian decided to become a public servant to help improve the quality of life in the local neighborhoods.
Houston Examiner: What inspired you to become a policeman and then to hold public office?
Adrian Garcia: I have to give credit to my mom because I was thinking about becoming a mechanic like my dad, but she encouraged me to try something else. Maybe she saw something in me like a desire to help people in a larger scope and to try to make the city I grew up in better.
HE: What difference do you see between being a policeman and a sheriff?
AG: As a patrolman I liked being in action in real time and being able to personally face the community’s issues. Being a councilman or a sheriff seems more about administrative work or management, but I like it because it gives me a more complete perspective on how to work with people.
HE: What’s the hardest situation you’ve faced on the job?
AG: There have been several, but as a police officer in duty I remember that once we had to face this guy in a standoff. He was depressed, his wife had left him and was armed with a rifle. The SWAT was getting ready to take him down, but thank God I was somehow able to convince him to surrender.
HE: What do you do in your free time?
AG: Usually we stay home with my family. We’re really private and like to spend time together. My wife makes me cut the lawn [laughs] or we watch movies on TV, we help our daughter with homework, we talk about many things.
HE: What type of movies or TV shows do you like?
AG: I like police series or movies. Other movies? I liked Outsiders or Walk in the Clouds. TV shows? Long ago, I liked Welcome Back Kotter, but I also liked Hispanic soap operas like Ana de Aire.
HE: What do you think Houston or Harris County lacks that other large metropolitan areas have?
AG: Houston has been around for more than 170 years but I don’t feel it has enough historic places to show for, and what’s around should be promoted and protected more. We really need to expand public transportation all over the city and county to benefit the people, improve the economy and for public safety.
This interview was conducted with Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia when he was running for the HCSO top spot in 2008 while he was still a Houston councilman and Mayor Pro Tem.